July 1, 2022

Uncertain How Governor Will Present Fiscal Plan to Board

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promesa_gobernador_junto_a_victor_suarez_03_ins_619348799-768x591By Luis J. Valentín From Caribbean Business

SAN JUAN — On Oct. 14, Gov. Alejandro García Padilla will have his first at bat in front of Promesa’s fiscal control board, when he presents it with the latest version of his administration’s long-term fiscal plan for Puerto Rico.

La Fortaleza confirmed the information to Caribbean Business, although it could not detail exactly the governor will unveil the document during the board’s second official conclave, which will be held once again in New York City. However, details of the exact location of the meeting weren’t offered.

Meanwhile, it is also not known when the local government will deliver the weekly revenue and expense report required by the board during his first official act. At 8:30 p.m., La Fortaleza had yet to respond to Caribbean Business’ inquiries over the document’s status.

The fiscal board chairman, José Carrión, had already anticipated on Sept. 30 that the body would receive the document during its second meeting. The Financial Advisory & Fiscal Agency Tax Authority and U.S. Treasury officials have been working on the plan for the past months.

See also: Puerto Rico government and public corporations under control of fiscal oversight board

As previously reported by Caribbean Business, García Padilla said late last month that the “retirement [systems’] liquidity numbers were being updated” and that this process is “not done overnight.”

“What I don’t want to do is present a fiscal plan with footnotes that say, ‘These numbers are not ready and may vary.’ The numbers are being updated responsibly. We are on time,” he stressed at the time.

Rosselló awaits for the transition

As for the New Progressive Party (NPP), its gubernatorial candidate, Ricardo Rosselló, said he is ready to meet with Promesa’s fiscal board when required, as he already has his fiscal plan ready, which includes, among other things, a reduction in government spending of at least 10% for the next fiscal year’s budget.

Rather than focusing on government agencies, the plan centers around the roughly 340 government services so it is easier to evaluate consolidating services and moving public employees where needed, as stated in his proposal for a single employer, the NPP president said.

“The fiscal control board gave the government the opportunity to present its fiscal plan. That does not mean that it is the fiscal plan that will be used, and in fact I anticipate that it won’t be because the board would want to work with the new government and I am ready to sit down with them and introduce my fiscal plan,” Rosselló said.

The NPP gubernatorial candidate intends to renegotiate “two [Puerto Rico] credits” by the end of January, which would free some “$400 to $700 million” in the budget, providing liquidity and short-term access to markets.

Their fiscal plan only needs to be updated with data that would be obtained once the post-election government-transition process takes place, the NPP’s resident commissioner candidate, Rep. Jenniffer González, told Caribbean Business.

González, who is also the House minority leader, said she has been holding talks with several board members, who have received part of the NPP’s proposals. Before the presentation of the García Padilla administration’s fiscal plan, the NPP seeks to send another package of economic development proposals to the board, González added.

Caribbean Business reporter Cindy Burgos Alvarado contributed to this story.

IMAGE: Secretary of State Víctor Suárez and Gov. Alejandro García Padilla

For more on this story go to: http://caribbeanbusiness.com/uncertain-how-governor-will-present-fiscal-plan-to-board/

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